I took a 2.5 week excursion-vacation with Arada Tours. All in all, I visited the Castles of Gondar, the historic Monasteries off Lake Tana in Bahir Dar, Trekked up the... read more Semiens Mountains, explored the 11 Rock Churches of Lalibela, and I topped things off with a city tour of Addis. The Arada Tours team was so helpful and accommodating to my needs. Being this was my first time in Africa I had a LOT of questions from what to pack, medical shots, and visa applications. The team was amazing and answered all my questions without issue. I enjoyed how customizable my tour was. I traveled through most of the Northern Region which was quite the journey. I appreciated the willingness to modify the tour to the attractions I had at the top of my list to make the best of my experience. I’m a history buff so I will admit I can spend hours in museums, the team adjusted accordingly and allowed me to explore without feeling rushed. The best part if this trip was the Trek. I have never trekked before, and given I have a host of allergies, I was nervous to say the least. As breathtaking as the views were, the Arada Tours team had everything I needed to make the trek with ease keeping in mind all allergies, and asthmatic concerns I had. If I could offer any advice about visiting Ethiopia, I’d say bring Binoculars, hiking boots, and get ready for the adventure you’ll never forget.
Trekking up the Semien Mountains – the Gelada Monkeys were a sight to see
Hippo Sightings while boating across Lake Tana
Rock Churches Lalibela –
Addis City Tour – the National Museum is the current home of “LUCY”, oldest humanoid species
Welcome to Southern Ethiopia! Here you will embark on a Omo Valley Tour like no other. Tribes have inhabited this region of the country for thousands of years. East Africa is often referred to as The Cradle of Humanity. Since the discovery of human remains dating back nearly 2.5 million years, the Lower Omo Valley region has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, in 1980. The Omo Valley is mostly a dry savanna region fed by the Omo River. Throughout the valley region and along the river, reside hundreds of small tribal villages amongst the landscape. The tribes often speak a unique language and the area is dense with unique customs. Popular tribes include the Hamar, Mursi, Bodi, Dassanech, Karo, Ari and others.
Addis Ababa is where the journey begins…before proceeding southward towards Arba Minch. A tour on Lake Chamo and of Nechsar Park will showcase many endemic birds. Visitors will easily spot baboons, zebras, gazelles, and African crocodiles. The Konso people are grouped into nine clans. Living in 49 kebels the clans are named Pasanta, Kertita, Mahaleta, Tokmaleta, Eshalayta, Alayta, Tikisayta, Arkamayta and Sawdata. Known as hard working people famous for terracing farm techniques that help protect soil from erosion by unexpected short period rain. A stop in Turmi showcases the Hamar and Karo tribal rituals, most notably the cattle leaping (bull jumping) rights of passage ceremony. The tour proceeds to Mago National Park where you will visit the famous Mursi tribes, known for the large clay plates worn in the lower lips of the women.
Our comprehensive tour includes an all-inclusive vacation package. You will return home dreaming of the delicious food. Southern Ethiopia provides rare shopping opportunities at the Omo Valley markets. Touring the tribes of the Omo Valley will introduce visitors to Ethiopia of both past and present.
Eat breakfast prior to departing for the late morning flight to Arba Minch. Arrive at Arba Minch around midday, awaiting is a delicious Southern Ethiopian prepared fish lunch. The fried Nile perch is our favorite, it is a very meaty fish. After hotel check-in is completed we will begin the boat tour on Lake Chamo. The cruise on the lake will showcase the indigenous Hippos, African crocodiles, Zebras and a range of beautiful aquatic birds. Night in Arba Minch.
Visit the first tribe on our cultural tour of Southern Ethiopian tribes. Drive to Chencha for the Dorze Village tour. The Dorze people are known for their weaving skills and architecture of their houses. Their vocal music features a sophisticated use of “hocket”, a rhythmic linear technique. Following lunch, drive to Konso. Konso is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site for its traditional landscape with terraces, its uniquely structured villages and huts, and for their famous wooden statues. Night in Konso. On clear dark nights, Konso is known for its amazing star gazing visibility.
Tribes of Konso Tour. The people are grouped into nine clans. The nine exogamous clans named Kertita, Pasanta, Eshalayta, Sawdata, Tikisayta, Alayta, Tokmaleta, Arkamayta and Mahaleta live in 49 kebeles. We will visit two of the nine clans on the Konso village tour. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of coffee plantations and green landscapes. Drive to Turmi following lunch. Night in Turmi. Groups larger than four people will require double occupancy rooms due to accommodation space limitations.
Experience a unique tribe, the Dassanech Tribe “People of the Delta,” which is only reached by crossing the Omo river. You will have the option to ride on a traditional boat without a motor which is carved from a large tree trunk. The Dassanech are known for their colorful beaded neckless and their pearly white teeth. After lunch on the river we will next visit the Hamar Tribe. The Hamar people are renowned for their unusually unique hairstyles. The rites of passage to adulthood of the Hamar Tribe Rituals include cattle leaping. With good timing and some luck we may witness a rites of passage ceremony. Night in Turmi. Groups larger than four people will require double occupancy rooms due to accommodation space limitations.
Begin the morning with breakfast. Next we will visit one of the famous markets of the Omo Valley. You will enjoy viewing the handmade cultural items from all of Southern Ethiopia. Witness the ancient practice of bargaining for the best price as you tour the market for shopping. A high five signifies that a deal has been reached. After lunch, begin the picturesque drive to Jinka.
Drive to the Mago National Park where you will be able to visit the famous Mursi tribe. They are known for the large clay plates that the women wear in their lower lips and ears which are made from locally dug clay. The men adorn themselves with clay and headdress of ivory horns. Eat lunch prior to visiting the Ari (Aari) People of Mago National Park. They are known for their artwork and agriculture. Ari women can be found in traditional skirts made from koisha leaves, with large colorful beads and bracelets. Following the Ari Tribe tour, take a guided tour of the South Omo Research Center Museum (Jinka Museum). The museum provides a great overview of the many tribes of the Omo Valley. Night in Jinka
Eat breakfast prior to departing for the late morning flight to Addis Ababa. Lunch will be provided at one of our favorite restaurants, our recommendation is the fish goulash. Time for shopping will be allocated to secure any last minute souvenirs. Beers and shisha (hookah) will also be an option during this timeframe. If time allows, a complimentary spa day at the best spa in town will be provided prior to departure. Depart from Bole International Airport Addis Ababa.
I cannot help but to be humbled with extreme gratitude. I am grateful to Arada Tours for booking this once in a lifetime trip and accompanying me in all three cities while there. The team was really helpful and knowledgeable during the tours. I am quite sure I would not have had such an amazing experience with the assistance of the Arada team.